Words to a lawyer, are the equivalent of timber or steel to a builder. Using them wisely to achieve the best outcomes for our clients is what we do.
Strange then that words are also our plaything. We use them for relaxation, amusement and to indulge our curiosity for discovery. I guess we’re a little self-indulgent in wanting everyone to experience the magic of language and writing. There is definitely a desire to share our enjoyment of the power of words.
Since January 2005, we’ve worked with Duffy Books in Homes to provide something most children would take for granted – books. We support three schools in the far north of New Zealand, Te Horo, Te Hapua and Tautoro. These are just three of over 500 primary schools in the decile 1-4 band, and 290 early childhood centres, that are part of the Alan Duff charitable foundation’s initiative. Each child receives a minimum of five books a year as part of a holistic program aimed at fostering a love of reading.
The big picture
The books are just a tool. The outcomes of the programme can be measured by the closeness between community and school and improved attitudes all round. The Duffy team work with a school co-ordinator to help eliminate bullying, truancy and vandalism through their communications. Encouraging students to have pride in their school, a willingness to cooperate, a hunger to learn and a love of books. Respect for property, each other, and themselves is a natural progression fostered by these attributes. All are qualities each child can to take on to high school with them and hopefully rely on throughout life.
Sadly it’s been a few years since we visited the schools. To encourage the children in their reading, we all brought our own favourite book to work. We sent our schools a team photo (above) which will have to do until we can make it to an assembly. We really enjoy the regular letters from the children. They often let us know what they are reading and tell us their own funny stories. Some get so engrossed in their books, they miss their stop to get off the school bus. Then there are the secret readers, who indulge in undercover torch-lit vigils. If you get a chance, have a look through the red folder containing the letters next time you visit. It lives in our reception area.
How to help
Duffy Books in Homes needs more funding partners, supporters and donors. To find out more, visit the website and watch the video by Linda Vagana, General Manager. Or give them a call on 09 259 5690.
No one should be bookless!
By Debra Dorrington